Lenten Reflection: Julie Leininger Pycior

Throughout Lent, Manhattan College's students, faculty and staff will reflect on the season.

Julie Leininger Pycior head shotJulie Leininger Pycior, Ph.D., a professor of history at Manhattan College, provided the following reflection on the season of Lent. It is the second of a series of reflections from Manhattan College faculty, students and staff on their Lenten journey.

While working on my current book project, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and the Greatest Commandment: Radical Love in Times of Crisis, it so happens that, even as Lent was about to begin, I came upon a Lent-related quote from Dorothy Day. "Certainly prayer and fasting are needed today," she wrote, "our own work to overcome the spirit of violence in the world."*  

At that time, 1965, Day and 20 other women were serving silent vigil in Rome during the Second Vatican Council: 10 days of fasting and prayer on behalf of peace and the right to oppose war on the grounds of conscience.  Much of this formulation would be included in the constitution issued by the Council at the end of the year, "Gaudiem et spes: The Church in the Modern World."  

And, actually, even this document relates to Lent. The following section ends with a quote from Ash Wednesday:

"For unless enmities and hatred are put away and firm, honest agreements concerning world peace are reached in the future, humanity - which already is in the middle of a grave crisis, even though it is endowed with remarkable knowledge - will perhaps be brought to that dismal hour in which it will experience no peace other than the dreadful peace of death. But, while we say this… [we] propose to our age over and over again… “Behold, now is the  acceptable time for a change of heart."   

May we invoke Servant of God Dorothy Day in *"our own work to overcome the spirit of violence in the world."

By Pete McHugh